Tenant Gave Notice AND Didn't Pay Rent

6 Replies

I know a lot of tenants think their deposit can be used for last month's rent, but this isn't one of those situations.  Tenant is a nurse who always paid on the first, no exceptions.  She was always trying to get rent reductions (i.e. when the AC blew and it took two days to do a complete new HVAC system) and I believe her decision to vacate is based on the fact that when she discovered her glass balcony door was shattered when she got home at 8pm that it took until the next day to get it fixed.

Regardless, her deposit is less than one month's rent, and she has't paid.  A 3-day notice to pay or quit was sent out on the 6th, and still nothing.  I don't doubt she'll leave, but if she does without paying, what's my recourse?  Or does it make sense to start eviction proceedings and get her served before she leaves?  Would I be able to get a judgement even if she has left?

This is in Dallas, TX.

Thanks in advance for any insights!

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

That being said, if someone hasn't paid as required by a lease agreement, I would think they are in breach of contract and the landlord should be able to get a judgement against them. I would also include any repairs in the shortfall as well, not just the last month's rent 

One of the podcast guests shared some relevant advice - even if they don't have any money and you can't collect right away, get a judgement anyway. Eventually they will be in a situation that requires getting the judgement off their  record/credit history, and you'll get paid

On the other hand, if you think there's any chance she might trash the place on her way out, maybe letting her leave is a good strategy.

Sounds like a conversation needs to happen.

Just my 2c

D

If they are leaving voluntarily, I would wait till they have vacated the premises before you file for eviction or non payment of rent. You never know what they might do when they get that eviction served. This just happened to me. I got the tenant out today on the 12th, rent was due on the 1st. But I'd rather wait those extra few days and get the property delivered back to me in good condition, then file with the courts.

I agree w/ Dmitri & Russell.
This tenant sounds difficult to work with, and I'd want her out as soon as possible, w/o any incident.

I'd take the lack of last month rent as loss, but turn it over as quickly as possible, and hope to find a better tenant, who'll stay long term.
So basically cut the loss, and move on.

Thanks everyone. Sometimes gotta get the emotion out of it and approach it from a loss cutting position, and you're all absolutely right. She was a difficult person to deal with and I'm actually somewhat relieved she's leaving. She complained about things not being fixed quick enough and also about the lack of after hours scheduling for work to be done "because she has a job" but also insisted on being present when they were working!

Can you send her to collections since she's in breach of a signed contract? I'd keep her security as well to go towards her owed balance.

I've never heard of filing for eviction AFTER someone has already vacated.

Originally posted by @Jacqueline Carrington :

Can you send her to collections since she's in breach of a signed contract? I'd keep her security as well to go towards her owed balance.

I've never heard of filing for eviction AFTER someone has already vacated.

I think it's more common than we'd normally think. Going through the motions of an eviction even though you already have the property back, would prevent them for example from claiming that they were just out of town on a long trip, oh and btw where is that gold watch I was keeping under the pillow?